So, the author of the now infamous ex-Googler email has been revealed, and Geoffrey Elliott is none too happy about the whole situation. See, he worked at Microsoft, left to start a startup, the startup got bought by Google, and he left Google to return to Microsoft. His Microsoft recruiter sent him some questions about life at Google, and in the context of a private conversation, he sent along his thoughts.
Then the recruiter violated his confidence and emailed the entire company a slightly anonymized version of the conversation.
Then someone posted the email on a blog, and the entire internet paid attention.
I’ve been covering this as a Google internal culture thing at InsideGoogle, but this needs to be said from a Microsoft perspective: The recruiter who sent out this email needs to be fired. I’m sorry, but unless this was an accident, or a misinterpretation, or Geoffrey missed the part where he was told his answers would be emailed everywhere, then this was a gross violation of his privacy, and completely unprofessional.
When you take a job, you don’t expect any part of the job interview process to be posted all over the internet. Anything told to HR is expected to be held in confidence, not disseminated all over the internet. There are people at Google, friends of his, who may be very insulted knowing what Geoffrey said about their company and their workplace, and he deserved the opportunity to say it himself and on his own terms. You cannot just email the whole company and expect it to be okay.
When you email around the company, there is a certain understanding that you just risked getting fired. Well, congratulations, I think this should just about do it.
And if the recruiter is a reader of my blog, or worse, a Microsoftie I respect and have a good relationship with in the past, I apologize for what I’ve said, but I am just being honest. If you recruited me in the future, I’d expect a certain amount of privacy, and I’d be infuriated if this happened to me.